Reaction has been strong following Monday’s announcement that the Democratic Party plans to adopt support for gay marriage at its nominating convention in early September. During a weekend meeting in Minneapolis, the party’s platform drafting committee voted to include language backing homosexual marriage, according to an official within the Democratic Party. Delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., will formally approve the platform at the same gathering where President Barack Obama will be nominated to run for re-election. In early May, the president publicly endorsed same-sex marriage–one day after North Carolina voters approved a constitutional amendment protecting traditional marriage. Thirty-two states have defined marriage as between one man and one woman, prohibiting recognition of marriage in any other form. Thomas Peters of the National Organization for Marriage told OneNewsNow that President Obama and his party are apparently forgetting that. “He’s reopening a can of worms that the voters in these states all kind of conclusively settled for themselves,” he said. “And one of our big points is that obviously if the Democrats have their way, all of the marriage amendments passed in [those states and] certainly Florida and other swing states are in jeopardy.” NOM president Brian Brown believes the Democratic Party “has been captured by extremists . . . like Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi who are determined to redefine marriage” in America. Peters says that being the case, the question for rank-and-file Democrats is what place they have at the table. “It seems that the person who sort of leaked this news is [Massachusetts Congressman] Barney Frank,” says Peters. “It’s coastal liberals in states like California, New York, and Massachusetts that are more and more shaping the direction of the Democrat Party [sic], leaving behind Democrats with social conservative values.” He added, “I think it’s particularly ironic that the Democrats are choosing to introduce for the first time the idea that they are corporately behind redefining marriage in a state where all the evidence suggests a majority of Democrats just voted in May to define marriage as a union between a husband and a wife.” The North Carolina marriage amendment passed with 61 percent approval. The National Organization for Marriage said the party’s leaders are “leading Democrats off the cliff”—and that the outcome of the election in November “is a proxy for the survival of traditional marriage in our nation.”
- A life-size replica of Noah’s Ark is now open to the public in the Netherlands, reports The Christian Post. Dutch millionaire Johan Huibers constructed the ark, following the measurements recorded in the Bible. It is complete with animals (plastic). The ark took four years to build and though Huibers had planned to sail it to the London Olympics, which opened last week, he wasn’t able to make it after being asked to clear everything with the fire department first, according to Sky News. Huibers had built a smaller version of the Biblical ark in 2007. That first ark drew hundreds of thousands of visitors. The successful construction company owner has stated that his goal with the ark is to point people to the Bible and God. Deborah Venema-Huibers, manager of the ark, noted to Sky News that they have been receiving requests from people worried that the world will end this year, according to conspiracies related to the Mayan calendar. Dec. 21, 2012, marks the end of the Mayan calendar, and some believe the end of the world will fall on that day. Meanwhile, Christians have emphasized that no one can know the date of the end times, as stated in Scripture. The Huibers have rejected the requests for space on the ark, telling them that it is a museum and not a “rescue boat.”
- Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop in Lakewood, Colo., refused to bake a wedding cake for a local gay couple, and now people are pushing a boycott against him, reports cbslocal.com. Phillips has received more than 1,000 angry messages about his stance. “If gays come in and want to order birthday cakes or any cakes for any occasion, graduations, or whatever, I have no prejudice against that whatsoever,” Phillips said. “It’s just the wedding cake, not the people, not their lifestyle.” In other news, The Worcester, Mass., dioceses told two men that a million-dollar mansion they’re interested in buying is not for sale to them, reports whdh.com. The men want to hold weddings there, but the church is concerned about what kind of weddings would take place and said no deal. Alain Beret and his husband Jim Fairbanks say the diocese of Worcester won’t sell them the Oakhurst Mansion because they’re gay.
- Planners of a Bible museum in Washington, D.C., closed a $50 million deal last Thursday on a building two blocks from the National Mall, reports Christianity Today and Religion News Service. The Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit group planning the still-to-be-named museum, announced it will be housed at 300 D Street SW in what is now the Washington Design Center, a series of showrooms of luxury home furnishings. “Our intent is for this museum to showcase both the Old and New Testaments, arguably the world’s most significant pieces of literature, through a non-sectarian, scholarly approach that makes the history, scholarship and impact of the Bible on virtually every facet of society accessible to everyone,” said Mark DeMoss, a member of the Bible museum’s board. The museum, which will likely open in 2016, will highlight the collection of the billionaire Green family of Oklahoma. That collection features more than 55,000 items including Biblical artifacts ranging from Dead Sea Scrolls to Torah scrolls that survived the Holocaust. Museum officials expect to also showcase other prominent collections from across the globe. Planners considered Dallas and New York in addition to Washington, D.C., for the museum site, but research showed people were more interested in traveling to a Bible-focused museum in the nation’s capital.
- A legislator, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D.-Ill.), said she was “unaware” that the preventive services regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued under the Obamacare law requires health care plans to offer free sterilizations to girls as young as their teens. The HHS regulation, which takes effect on Aug. 1, requires nearly all health care plans in the United States to provide, without cost sharing, “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity,” which means all women who have begun ovulating, including teenagers. At the Capitol, CNSNews.com asked Rep. Schakowsky, “The HHS preventive services mandate requires all health plans to offer free sterilizations, including to girls in their teens. Do you support the mandate as it applies to teens?” At that point, Rep. Schakowsky started to walk away without answering but, while walking, she said, “I don’t—I’m unaware that it says that sterilization including teens is in that. I’ll check that out.” CNSNews.com then followed up, “It says all women of ‘reproductive capacity,’ and it defines it as from menarche to menopause.”
- Chicago’s mayor is standing firm on his “no Chick-fil-A” policy as Americans prepared for a Wednesday chickenfest. The controversy began when Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy voiced his stand favoring traditional, Biblical marriage. While Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has backed off his initial statement blocking Chick-fil-A from opening in his city, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has had no such change of heart. David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute told OneNewsNow that Emanuel has stated Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values. “Whose values are you speaking of, Mr. Mayor?” Smith questioned. “Are you talking about the thousands of churches and synagogues in the state of Illinois? Are you speaking for their values—or are you talking only about the corrupt political machine that is Chicago? Are you talking about those values, Mr. Mayor?” Could it be that Emanuel believes his city’s values are more accurately represented by anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan? Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas posed that question in his most recent column, pointing out that Farrakhan “goes a lot further than Dan Cathy” in opposing same-gender”marriage. As recently as two months ago, the controversial Farrakhan blasted President Obama for endorsing same-sex marriage, noting he is “the first president that sanctioned what the scriptures forbid,” adding that “sin is sin according to the standard of God” and “the Bible forbids it.”
- A Messianic Jewish leader and staunch supporter of the nation of Israel is encouraged that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would support an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, reports onenewsnow.com. Romney said during his recent visit that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, and he strongly suggested he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem if he were president. He also pledged “a solemn duty and moral imperative” to protect Israel. Romney’s foreign policy advisor Dan Senor also told reporters that “if Israel has to take action on its own” to prevent Iran from being able to make the materials that could be used for a bomb, Romney “would respect that decision.” Jan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries, thinks the response is good for Israel. “Israelis know that right now they are dealing with the most hostile-to-Israel U.S. president ever,” the Olive Tree Ministries director notes. “I’m sure many of them are thinking back to May of 2011,when President Barack Obama told them that all Israelis should adjust their borders back to 1967 indefensible borders.” Markell believes Obama would again push for those borders if he follows through on his pledge to visit Israel if he is re-elected.
- Christians in Iraq are pleading for prayer. Mission Network News reports that Open Doors USA recently received the following e-mail from one of their contacts in Baghdad: “The terror in Iraq recently was the worst for several years. Each hour the news of what happened gets worse. There have also been major al-Qaeda threats to everyone, especially the Christians. After last week’s violence, communication is terrible. It is not really possible to describe the devastation here in Baghdad. Over 100 have been killed. Security has been a target. We have none. I came back early because things were getting worse, and they sure are! We are all okay, though. We are used to bad problems here in Baghdad, but the violence is just quite unbelievable. 12 car bombs, 2 suicide bombers on motor bikes. Scores of police and soldiers killed. We no longer have any security. It was all Iraqi police and soldiers. Whilst our people have not been killed, the injuries are so severe to so many.”
- South Dakota is doing everything it can to let downtrodden pregnant women know there are better, healthier options than abortion, reports blogs.christianpost.com. In March 2011, South Dakota’s Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed the Abortion Informed Consent Statute into law. Although the constitutionality of the law was immediately challenged, and Planned Parenthood recoiled at the thought of mothers being informed of all the dangers abortion poses for them (in addition to the child), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that all major provisions of the law can stand. Generally speaking, this means that women seeking an abortion in South Dakota’s only abortion clinic will be informed beforehand that “an abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” that the mother’s “relationship with that second human being enjoys protection under the Constitution of the United States and the Laws of South Dakota,” that relationship and all rights attached to it will be terminated, and the medical and psychological risks abortion subjects mother to, including “at increased risk for . . . suicide.”
- A federal judge ordered a Tennessee county last Wednesday to move ahead with opening a Muslim congregation’s newly built mosque after a two-year fight from opponents, reports washingtontimes.com. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro sued Rutherford County earlier in the day and asked District Judge Todd Campbell for an emergency order to let worshipers into the building before the holy month of Ramadan starts at sundown Thursday. Federal prosecutors then stepped in with a similar lawsuit. The future of the mosque had been in question since May, when a local judge overturned the county’s approval of the mosque construction. This month he ordered the county not to issue an occupancy permit for the 12,000-square-foot building. Judge Campbell ordered the county to move ahead on approving the mosque for use, although it wasn’t immediately clear if that could happen by Thursday. Final inspection of the building is required. The contentious fight over the mosque stems from a 2010 lawsuit filed by a group of residents who made repeated claims that Islam was not a real religion and that local Muslims intended to overthrow the U.S. Constitution in favor of Islamic religious law. Those claims were dismissed, but opponents won with a ruling that overturned the approval to build the mosque on the grounds that the county didn’t give adequate public notice of the meeting.
- Countries that host the Olympic Games typically look forward to the tourists and money the event brings. But there’s sometimes a dark side to that influx of visitors—the sexual exploitation of children by sports fans, reports cbn.com. Brazil, which is hosting the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, is already making plans to ward off this potential disaster. In northeastern Brazil, a growing number of tourists have become a sizable part of the economy. These visitors come to the region to take advantage of its world-renowned beaches, colonial architecture, and rich history. Tragically, some also come to take advantage of Brazil’s children. “It’s very easy to buy a girl. It’s like buying a chocolate,” youth counselor Carlos da Bomba, who works for the Guardian Council in Recife, said. More than 4 million people live in the metropolitan area. Da Bomba described child sex trafficking there as “out of control.” Taxi drivers, hotel workers, drug dealers, and others work together to form an underground network, connecting supply (children in Recife) with demand (adults who sexually exploit them). Every week, da Bomba’s agency receives five to six new victims in need of help. He wondered how many others are still out there, afraid to reach out. Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and the leadership of the FBI are blocking prosecution of human trafficking cases, including those involving minors being forced into prostitution, according to a Townhall magazine article by FBI informant Brandon Darby, godfatherpolitics reports.
- The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was voted out of committee last week (13–6), and is just one Senate floor vote away from ratification, reports parental rights.org. “What’s more, with Democrats pushing this treaty and Democrats in control of the Senate, that vote could come at any time. That’s the bad news. But there is hope. We have seen one version of this week’s Senate schedule, and CRPD is not likely to be added to it. If this holds true, we will have an additional month to persuade Senators to vote against this dangerous treaty.”
- Dave Jolly, writing in godfatherpolitics.com, is asking, “Where are the human rights commissions, the United Nations or even the United States government when it comes to the worldwide persecution of Christians by Muslims? To start with, did you know that the rebels in Syria that the U.S. is backing, have been deliberately attacking and killing Christians and destroying churches in that country? Just like the way we supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, it seems the Obama administration is making a habit of supporting radical Muslim groups that openly vow to wipe Christians from their lands.” Jolly went on to cite instances in Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Kashmir, Mali, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Sudan, Turkmenistan, South Africa, and the U.S.
- A Miami-Dade County school superintendent is using a pastor’s sermon about homosexuality as grounds to review his church’s lease, reports OneNewsNow. Following Pastor Jack Hakimian’s message at Impact Miami Church on the Biblical position concerning homosexuality, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho is “reviewing” North Miami Senior High School’s lease agreement with the church to determine if it should be revoked. Pastor Hakimian preaches and teaches inside North Miami Senior High School every Sunday. In a recent sermon, he listed homosexuality along with other sinful lifestyles such as drug abuse and witchcraft. The superintendent didn’t like it, and began threatening to cancel the church’s lease. “It’s absolutely unthinkable that a government official believes that he has the opportunity and the authority to restrict someone’s speech in a church service on Sunday,” contends Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel. “The school board is a landlord in this case—and consequently, they can’t go into the privacy of the home or the privacy of the church service on Sunday.”